Story Corps

Anne and Theresa Strong

Anne Strong was born in the historic German city of Steinheim, in 1932. Anne and her family were Roman Catholics, but lived in fear of being sent to the same concentration camps where millions of Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Mrs. Strong says those memories remain vivid today and are powerfully described in her StoryCorps interview with her daughter Theresa.

Anne Strong’s childhood in pre-World War II Germany, sounds like something out of a movie filmed in black and white. She lived in a loving home with her mother, father, two brothers and one sister. Anne was the youngest, so she was always surrounded by those who cared for her. That warmth and comfort was often interrupted by Nazis coming to the home to inquire why the children weren’t attending the Nazi Youth training classes. Her father told the soldiers the children were in church and unable to attend the Nazi training classes. She says her father’s courage and ability to diffuse the threats was inspirational. She also remembers the piercing shrill of the air raid sirens warning of bombers flying overhead unloading their explosive cargo. She remembers scurrying down the stairs to the basement at all hours of day and night with her family who would huddle together, hold hands and pray. Once the sirens went silent, the children knew it was alright to go outside. Anne says she and her older brother had a little game to see who could gather up the most bomb debris after each attack. She says it was innocent fun and their attempt to make the most of a destructive situation. She says after each bombing attack, they’d look in the direction of the schoolhouse to see if it was damaged or on fire. She says most all the buildings sustained some damaged, including their own home, but the schoolhouse remained untouched.

The Nazi threat was a constant reality in Anne’s young life. She knew at any moment, her family could be rounded up and whisked away to a concentration camp, never to be heard from again. She and her family survived the threats and she says the memories are as vivid today as they were a half a century ago. The history Anne witnessed as a young girl and consequently shares in this StoryCorps interview is amazing. Anne’s distinct German accent adds an increased level of authenticity to this remarkable interview.

For more information or if you would like to tell your story to KUHF, contact Paul Pendergraft at PPendergraft@KUHF.org.

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Fujio Watanabe

Media Productions Manager

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